An air of barmy escapism and not entirely due to the temperature hangs over Europe in the form of an unwillingness to face reality. In France’s second biggest city Marseilles there was a signal reluctance to accept the causes and effects of the most recent identity riots, for example.
The riots were clearly awaiting a flash point for the looting-to-order to proceed. This was duly achieved with the main lootable businesses in the commercial area, the ones with higher end products, having their armoured glass fascias shattered and duly being cleaned out.
This was in spite of a military garrison in the centre of the city, not to mention, at a pinch, the Foreign Legion being headquartered nearby.
In the event the subsequent official debate centred on the conduct of the police force which in a remarkable display of restraint had handled the riots without loss of life.
Members of the police force now went to jail, reports our man in Europe’s hot spots (pictured.)
In the heatwave attention swung onto the elderly and the retired.
They are a much greater force in French life than this category represents anywhere else.
The reason is the complex system of France’s pensions and associated retirements. There is also the matter of France’s post war baby boom being so exceptionally numerous and now having to be supported by the smaller families of subsequent generations.
The height of the heatwave coincided with the commemoration of the allied landings in the south of France and the terrain is dotted with monuments large and small to the fallen in the Second World War, most poignantly to the fighters of the Resistance.
So how is it that the French after being invaded three times in the last 150 years continue to misread Germany?
One answer is that France cannot comprehend the nature of German cohesion.
Another and more likely answer to the riddle is that France fails to understand that the Germans will go along with a prevailing mind set regardless of at which end of the political spectrum the mind set happens to be.
France once the overwhelming leader in European energy began to march to the beat of the German moral superiority drum when it began cutting back on its own power generation and relying on other countries instead.
Another thing that the French cannot start to understand is the similarity of outlook shared by Germany and Russia. Written out of European history books is that way in which before it sank into tyranny German governments between the wars intervened to stop Russo-German joint ventures.
Meanwhile out of Europe or at least the Brussels EU version, we find the United Kingdom wishing away the fact that it is becoming the disunited Kingdom.
This threat it is true shows signs of evaporating in the self-governing Wales. Here, retribalisation takes the form of distractions.
One is the army of language superintendents whose irrepressible enthusiasm often takes the form of welshifying Welsh signage that is in fact already in Welsh.
In Scotland separatism is ever-present and much more serious. Its seriousness is in its desperation and it grows as Scotland becomes ever more dependent on London, a state of affairs much enhanced by Scotland losing its global banking sector in the 2008 bust.
Britain in quite recent times has evolved a Californian style ethos in some of its biggest cities. One of these is London. Another and not so well known is Bristol.
It was Boris Johnson’s ability as mayor of London to act as a kind of Arnold Schwarzenegger gubernatorial bulwark to the massing avant-garde neo hippy hordes.
Johnson’s bulwark against the mass progressivism saw Johnson as the obvious shoo-in to do the same thing for the nation as a whole by serving as its prime minister.
A feature of European society as we have noted is the inability to confront the obvious and we now come to one of the outstanding examples.
Boris Johnson as prime minister was utterly distracted by a romantic remarriage, a modern one, which saw him well into middle age having to serve as active father to his new born brood.
Modern marriage is important here because in such alliances one of the partners has to set the tone, call the shots, and the impression was and remains that it was not Johnson.
Nobody wants to discuss this, most of all Britain’s mass media with its otherwise fixation on gender topics. When furtive pieces to this effect have crept onto web versions they have been removed when observed by more senior guiding lights.
Another curious thing is the way in which something important in one country is treated as unimportant in another even though the problem is caused and shared by the same countries.
Immigration is the example here.
In Britain the boatloads of immigrants crossing over in anything floatable from France is a gigantic issue with parliamentarians calling out in wonderment how Britain kept at bay the forces of Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler yet is powerless to prevent the arrival in rubber dinghies of so many dispossessed transiting via France.
Yet in France the issue is not an issue. It is ignored or deflected, as in the instance of the diversion in the form of the jailed hard pressed Marseille police.
An explanation is that in Britain the immigration impact can be solved by the Royal Navy. In France in contrast it can only be absorbed and managed, and generally be coped with.
In both countries the heatwave, canicule, as it is known in France absorbs any preoccupation with the war in Ukraine, a war of attrition on the European mainland and traceable to a pious gullibility of European states to evaluate things as they actually were and still are.
There has settled on these countries a new age of piety in which truly pressing priorities must be shrouded and dissipated in rituals of bygone years.
Colonial Era Evocation Cancelled Melbourne Commonwealth Games
Melbourne’s abrupt cancellation of the Commonwealth Games signalled the advent in the English-speaking realm of an instant official end to a mass cultural convocation, in this instance a sporting one.
The cancellation was itself emblematic of the Victoria government. The Australian politico media sphere is always wrong footed by the way the state government emerges unscathed from its bad news.
Its formula is to simply get it out of the way as quickly as it can.
Lesser governments would have given the issue a slow death with standard “reviews” and “interventions” with much use of the word “resilience.” The Victoria state government knows that bad news feeds on time and talk. So compress the time and thus the talk.
No attenuated “conversations” nourishing the news cycles from this cunningly purposeful administration.
Costs were said to have tripled. Not so well known is that anticipated revenues had shrunk dangerously, noticeably the international broadcasting income.
Originally described as the Empire Games the event was formulated as a device to cement together the member nations in what at the time was still the world’s largest ever empire.
Therefore the acceleration of the now fevered Australian focus on colonialism and its harmful effects on first nationers would have also entered the Melbourne equation.
What a difference a year makes. Especially to the Royal Family, the traditional centrepiece of the Games. What sort of a reception would the royals have received at the now-abandoned Melbourne games? The Queen presided at the 2006 Melbourne games.
Exactly what parliament among Australia’s proliferating parliaments would have been designated as the official Games parliament?
The games and their value has been approached in recent years with caution. An ambivalence is the value of the games in which losses incurred are said to be outweighed by the aggregate revenue to the host of the resulting visitor-tourist spending.
Many now call this cost effectiveness into question because it is known that certain tourists will deliberately avoid a games venue because of the inconvenience and because they know that prices have gone up.
All this does not explain why the Melbourne Games were cancelled so instantly and so decisively.
What happened was that the more that the politicians “evaluated” the games, the more they saw contrived trouble on the cultural front with the games being viewed as the provocation.
Australia was always the home-away-from-home for the Commonwealth Games. It is the most successful competing nation with the most medals in the history of the event.
There was Sydney in 1938 which was the first to be staged in the southern hemisphere, Perth (1962), Brisbane (1982), Melbourne (2006) and the Gold Coast (2018).
The Lucky Country with its in-depth self-sufficient economy knew that it could shoulder the inevitable contingency costs of any magnitude in staging these extravaganzas because of the value in presenting its preferred image of fresh-faced unified candour blended with the energy of limitless possibilities.
The accountants of these games in more recent years regardless of venue have been shunted into the background.
Myths were necessary, one being that the cost of the special accommodation for the athletes would be offset because this accommodation would somehow be transformed into sought-after permanent housing.
The Victoria state government meanwhile would not have broken ranks with Canberra on anything so important. The Federal and state governments colluded because they both saw that on the political balance sheet the Games now presented a bigger debit than a credit.
Outside the world of competitive sport nobody is shedding too many tears.
It is hard not to hear from the Palace a profound sigh of relief.
It has learned to be wary about overt displays conjuring up images of the imperial era.
The first politician to publicly challenge the value of the Commonwealth Games was New Zealand MP Georgina Beyer (pictured) who quickly eliminated the event from New Zealand consideration on the simple basis that the true costs could not be estimated, that they would spiral, and thus have to be met from other budgets, notably the social welfare funds.
The Member of Parliament would also have perceived the shift in groundswell in which the games magnetism was migrating to showcasing differences rather than disguising them in choreographed exuberance.
Ms Beyer’s transition from male to female and the resulting attention frequently obscured her ability to grasp the reality of any issue at all - a talent demonstrated initially during her years in local government.
In the end the abrupt cancellation of the Melbourne games was because the games were on track to becoming a shop window for dissonance instead of cohesion. Wounds were going to be displayed rather than concealed. Salt in the form of undiluted media attention was ready to be poured on them.
After the no-arguments about face by Melbourne and by implication Canberra too the “friendly” Games have entered a dismayingly unfriendly era and ushered into it by one of its loyalists.